By Alan Masarek, CEO
<2018 proved to be one of the most exciting in Vonage’s 17 year history. These past 12 months were packed with the most developments, the most announcements, and the most new additions to our team and product portfolio - all of which have positioned us well to deliver great things as we dive headfirst into 2019.
The biggest and most exciting news Vonage announced this year were the acquisitions of TokBox and NewVoiceMedia. These additions help us to address the needs of today’s businesses, leveraging the Cloud to create an exceptional customer experience via intelligent interactions. We are providing businesses with the tools they need to connect with customers across multiple modes of communication, in a contextual way. This is particularly important in providing a human touch in an increasingly digital world.
With the TokBox announcement in August, Vonage quickly became the worldwide leader in programmable video, rounding out our programmable platform via Nexmo, the Vonage API Platform, and fully spanning core communication APIs across voice, SMS, IP messaging and now, video. This addition enables businesses to benefit from simple, flexible and scalable programmable video solutions to create deeper customer relationships for businesses.
And more recently, we closed on the acquisition of cloud contact center provider NewVoiceMedia. As businesses adopt CRM tools to improve customer engagement and to drive digital transformation, NewVoiceMedia’s cloud contact center solutions offer a superior, integrated experience with leading CRM’s, particularly in the form of better, real-time, omnichannel interactions across chat, voice and SMS, as well as more robust analytics and data capture. The addition of NewVoiceMedia helps to accelerate our growth strategy and leadership position in business communications, strengthening our presence with global mid-market and enterprise clients, and deepening our integrations and key go-to-market relationships with CRM platforms like Salesforce.com. In fact, NewVoiceMedia has a long and strategic relationship with Salesforce as the leading contact center provider in the Salesforce ecosystem.
Earlier in 2018, we launched our flagship product Vonage Business Cloud. This new cloud-native, proprietary platform culminates a three-year software development effort, and our OneVonage vision to help businesses address their unique needs and customer demands with a custom blend of unified communications and programmable communications tools. With OneVonage, we are leveraging our core offering - unified communications, programmable communications and contact center - and building it into a common software stack.
The launch of Vonage Business Cloud was quickly followed by innovation after innovation to improve and build upon this service with new features and functionality that transform the way businesses connect, including:
- Vonage’s award-winning SmartWAN, which is now available to businesses using Vonage Business Cloud, optimizing the network to keep employees connected - even across multiple locations
- Vonage Business Cloud Desktop Connect App, which allows employees to start their day in the redesigned Vonage Business Cloud Mobile App and switch to the desktop when they reach the office, without missing a beat - even mid-call
- Vee, our new virtual customer assistant chatbot integrated with a cloud-based UC solution that aids customers in managing their account services via simple natural-language text commands
- VonageFlow, our proprietary workstream collaboration solution
- Messages API and Dispatch API which together enable brands to engage with their customers wherever they prefer, elevating customer communications by meeting customers on the channels they find most engaging
- Business Inbox which allows customers to reply to messages sent in messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, providing the ability to respond to customers in real-time directly within the app, organizing customer requests in one unified inbox
- CX Cloud, an advanced omnichannel contact center product suite allowing businesses to uilitize Nexmo APIs to customize their interactions with customers via real-time sentiment analysis, chatbots and IVRs.
Our Vonage Business Cloud service was purposefully designed in a public cloud environment to enable easy expansion across EMEA and APAC, where we see continued growth in the demand for unified communications. Leveraging Vonage Business Cloud and our ability to build combination packaged solutions for our customers, we are creating a unique and differentiated global offering for an integrated end-to-end communications experience.
And with an eye ever on the future - the future of our business, our customer and our product offering - this year alone we received 15 new patents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This brings us to more than 200 U.S. patents, with more than 150 U.S. patent applications pending, along with many foreign patents and pending applications in jurisdictions worldwide.
This year also marked the launch of the Vonage Partner Network a new comprehensive channel partnership program. The Vonage Partner Network was built to enable partners to solve their customers’ complex communication needs by leveraging Vonage's unique combination of unified communications solutions and embedded, contextual communications APIs. We built the Vonage Partner Network because Vonage recognized an overarching need in the channel for a specific program to help partners deliver to their customers this powerful combination of unified and programmable communications. Vonage partners can now offer their customers innovative ways to collaborate more productively and to engage their customers in more meaningful ways, ultimately creating better business outcomes.
Responding to the growing demand for Communications Platform as-a-Service, or programmable communications, a market which IDC predicts to reach $18 billion in the next three years, we also launched Nexmo Connect in 2018. Nexmo Connect is a community-based, collaborative ecosystem of AI and technology partners, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), resellers and SaaS partners. Through the program, this ecosystem offers easy accessibility to our comprehensive programmable communications platform via APIs for SMS, IP messaging and video, so our partners can build solutions that meet the diverse and unique needs of their own customers.
Already more than 100 partners strong, Nexmo Connect is designed to help partners find new opportunities, strategize to stay ahead of the competition, and ultimately create more compelling customer experiences for the enterprises they serve. A growing number of industry-leaders, including Microsoft, Facebook, MuleSoft, Built.io, Tray.io, Converse.ai, and Aspect Software, have already joined the Nexmo Connect partner ecosystem. Combining the strengths of Nexmo, its partners, and customers via Nexmo Connect empowers Vonage to build fully customized and unique communications experiences for enterprise customers of all sizes and across industries.
The areas of opportunity for programmability continue to gain momentum. The exploding number of use cases that can be addressed via Nexmo APIs continues on an upward trajectory, as does our increasing number of registered developers. More than 700K and counting, they are using these tools to build upon and augment enterprise applications, websites, mobile apps and business processes - quite simply, making them better.
Awards and Recognitions
Vonage received many awards and recognitions this year from industry influencers and thought leaders and I couldn’t be more proud. Not only is it an honor to be recognized by leaders within our space but our customers also look to these leaders for guidance when it comes to their own digital transformations. To be included in these recommendations makes a tremendously positive impact on our business. Some of these included the Frost & Sullivan Leadership Award (for the fifth consecutive year!), UC Today Most Innovative Product Award for Vonage Business Cloud, FOUR DevRel Awards in recognition of Nexmo, the Contact Center Technology Award in recognition of NewVoiceMedia and the Aragon Research Innovation Award for CPaaS.
Our Personality & Culture
At Vonage, we are disruptive innovators. This is a part of our DNA and has been since the company was founded as a pioneer in the residential VoIP space back in 2001. That DNA and culture of innovative disruption has carried forward to where we are today. And our brand is a direct reflection of that culture.
We have offices around the world, which are home to more than 2,200 employees. Our offices have personality, just like our employees. We believe a creative workplace invokes creativity and innovation for our people. Our accomplishments this past year clearly show this to be true. We have the right people, we have smart people, we have people with personality. Our employees innovate relentlessly. It is what we are known for and what we are most proud of as a company, as a culture. We are creating a destination place to work - a very important element for us in driving the culture of our company moving forward.
What Our Customers Are Saying
The number - and size - of customers choosing Vonage for their digital transformations throughout 2018 further reinforces my belief that more and more businesses see the need - and value - in moving their communications to the Cloud.
Vonage has built solutions that address myriad use cases for the entire communications market. We address the broad categories of buyers who each present with different needs. As the only provider in the space to offer Unified Communications, Cloud Contact Center and Programmable Communications solutions, Vonage not only meets the needs of every buying category as a one stop shop, but can innovate at a pace that others simply cannot.
Hear from some of our customers - customer service provider Customer Direct; one of the largest publishers of locally-based media, Gatehouse Media; and preventive healthcare technology leader MedXM - to learn how we are helping them leverage cloud communications to drive better business outcomes.
2019 and Beyond
We can fully serve the total addressable market for business cloud communications. As the lines between Unified Communications, Contact Center and Programmable Communications continue to blur, our recent acquisitions reinforce Vonage’s position as the ONLY business cloud communications provider to deliver all three of these capabilities - all on a single platform. Vonage is packaging these tools for businesses to redefine how they communicate and operate by creating intelligent interactions for a frictionless and more meaningful end-to-end communications experience.
We have a truly unique set of capabilities and solutions that will help us to make an even bigger splash in 2019. With our OneVonage vision, we are making it easy to create the specific tools customers need to address the unique communications challenges their businesses face. This will be key to our continued growth and success. Here’s to another successful year.